A bigger bar could be a secret to Caramilk’s success

The Mondelez brand has new packaging and formats for a contest that enforces a key brand equity message.


“How to get the soft flowing caramel into the Caramilk bar” has been a marketing catchphrase for more than 50 years, and Mondelez is leaning into the secrets of the brand to bring a contest back to stores.

The confectionery is using a giant glowing golden key to draw eyeballs to displays and packaging promoting the return of a contest to win $100,000 –  but this time, with the addition of a larger format and QR codes.

Alexandra Marushko, associate brand manager for Cadbury parent Mondelez Canada says that for 2021, the Caramilk King Size 78g bar is being introduced, to lean into the uptake it saw for the contest with convenience and gas customers, where the larger format has a larger presence than the regular-sized bar, pictured below.

“The creative for the campaign features our instantly recognizable question mark key creative on contest packaging and in-store displays,” Marushko says. This includes subtleties like a lock in the letter “A” in Caramilk.

“QR codes were also added onto the display POS so consumers could easily scan and enter their PIN codes online, while still shopping in store,” she says.

In-store Caramilk

For 2021, packaging was updated for Caramilk’s multi-packs to signify that there are four PIN codes included within each one.

Marushko tells strategy that the contest continues to be a celebration of its longstanding “mystery” positioning and that Mondelez has been building wonder and consideration throughout the year by asking Canadians to share Caramilk “secret theories” online, which include jokey conjecture such as the chocolate is “made by unicorns,” or “farmed on Mars” via “space magic.” 

The “Unlock the Secret” contest runs until Oct. 22, and rewards include ten $1,000 “instant win” prizes for finalists, one of whom will have a chance to win the $100,000 grand prize. For the second year in a row, the grand prize winner selection is completely virtual.

“We also saw great success in hosting a virtual Grand Prize ceremony event in 2020 – as such, we plan to execute our ceremony in the same fashion in 2021,” Marushko adds. 

This latest iteration of the contest joins a variety of ways the brand’s “secret” message has been brought to life across decades – from TV through to print, song and dance, online and via 50 billboards in Toronto’s subway system.

B Street Communications helped in ideating and executing on all elements of the 2020 and 2021 promotion, including media, microsite development, contesting, promotional packaging and POS, and prizing fulfillment.

The brand says it also recognizes the work of Weber Shandwick for leading the 2021 Caramilk equity public relations campaign, and Ogilvy, Vayner Media and Spark Media for managing all equity and contest media.